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Propaganda is a double-edged sword. It can help a cause or destroy a person’s career, depending on the intentions of the user. The pens of Voltaire and Rousseau inflamed opposition to Bourbon rule in France, just as Thomas Paine’s Common Sense roused and influenced opinion in the American Revolution. Rosie the Riveter, the star of a US government campaign aimed at recruiti Propaganda is a double-edged sword. It can help a cause or destroy a person’s career, depending on the intentions of the user. The pens of Voltaire and Rousseau inflamed opposition to Bourbon rule in France, just as Thomas Paine’s Common Sense roused and influenced opinion in the American Revolution. Rosie the Riveter, the star of a US government campaign aimed at recruiting female workers for the munitions industry, became one of the most recognized images of working women during World War II. And with the development of modern media, global warfare, and the rise of extremist political parties, propaganda is more widespread now than ever.           From safe sex to dictatorships, from the iconic to the everyday, Propaganda: Power and Persuasion, which accompanies a major new exhibition at the British Library, explores how different states have used propaganda during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Different techniques are highlighted—such as the “appeal to authority” and “common man” approaches—as are the various forms in which propaganda appear, including posters, books, films, stamps, leaflets, matchboxes, cartoons, music, and newspapers. The book concludes with a look at how the explosion in social media is influencing the way the state attempts to persuade and control its citizens.           Exploring a surprising range of propaganda from around the world, readers will be challenged to look critically at the messages, methods, and media of propaganda through time and across cultures.


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Propaganda is a double-edged sword. It can help a cause or destroy a person’s career, depending on the intentions of the user. The pens of Voltaire and Rousseau inflamed opposition to Bourbon rule in France, just as Thomas Paine’s Common Sense roused and influenced opinion in the American Revolution. Rosie the Riveter, the star of a US government campaign aimed at recruiti Propaganda is a double-edged sword. It can help a cause or destroy a person’s career, depending on the intentions of the user. The pens of Voltaire and Rousseau inflamed opposition to Bourbon rule in France, just as Thomas Paine’s Common Sense roused and influenced opinion in the American Revolution. Rosie the Riveter, the star of a US government campaign aimed at recruiting female workers for the munitions industry, became one of the most recognized images of working women during World War II. And with the development of modern media, global warfare, and the rise of extremist political parties, propaganda is more widespread now than ever.           From safe sex to dictatorships, from the iconic to the everyday, Propaganda: Power and Persuasion, which accompanies a major new exhibition at the British Library, explores how different states have used propaganda during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Different techniques are highlighted—such as the “appeal to authority” and “common man” approaches—as are the various forms in which propaganda appear, including posters, books, films, stamps, leaflets, matchboxes, cartoons, music, and newspapers. The book concludes with a look at how the explosion in social media is influencing the way the state attempts to persuade and control its citizens.           Exploring a surprising range of propaganda from around the world, readers will be challenged to look critically at the messages, methods, and media of propaganda through time and across cultures.

30 review for Propaganda: Power and Persuasion

  1. 5 out of 5

    deb

    Incredibly interesting.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Leticia Supple

    This book is an Allies-only, very British look at propaganda. I am lukewarm on the title because it struck me while reading it that works like this, which are ostensibly about propaganda, are themselves works of propaganda. Unlike the author’s presented here, I don’t accept that propaganda is something one does, in a tactical sense. Rather, propaganda is a meta concept that shapes opinion and viewpoint in a particular way; that there are a vast number of tactics underneath that umbrella. Much of t This book is an Allies-only, very British look at propaganda. I am lukewarm on the title because it struck me while reading it that works like this, which are ostensibly about propaganda, are themselves works of propaganda. Unlike the author’s presented here, I don’t accept that propaganda is something one does, in a tactical sense. Rather, propaganda is a meta concept that shapes opinion and viewpoint in a particular way; that there are a vast number of tactics underneath that umbrella. Much of this book deals with propaganda in the sense of it only being something that happens in a situation of war. However, the one article that did seem to promise something was the piece on Wikileaks. The author wasn’t interested in assessing the Wikileaks phenomenon in the basis of its place in a new world shaped by a different type of propaganda; in fact, he showed his hand in the first paragraph by instead taking a personal stab at both Assange and Manning. This wouldn’t have been problematic if it was at all relevant to the discussion. But it wasn’t. How Wikileaks functions within and shapes cultural opinion making or access to information has nothing at all to do with the personal or criminal activities of the founder. Nor has it anything to do with Chelsea Manning’s sexual orientation, which is also pointed out unnecessarily. Not to mention that the author refuses to refer to Manning as Chelsea, and instead steadfastly calls her Bradley. There are enough tactics in this one particular piece - including relating concepts together by proximity instead of reason or logic - that undo the volume. As does one other piece, in which the writer was in her way towards making a great case for the place of media theory in propaganda studies... before falling flat on her face by attempting to refer to platforms “other than” the internet, in which she included Twitter and Facebook. And at that point all credibility disappeared out the window.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rowan Lock

    A great exhibition - and the exhibition book as a few extras too.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

  5. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

  6. 5 out of 5

    Aleksandra

  7. 5 out of 5

    Augi

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jakub

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michael Ranalletta

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

  13. 4 out of 5

    Samuel B. Shaw

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gloria Tesha

  15. 4 out of 5

    Buse Sarar

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

  17. 5 out of 5

    Pat

  18. 4 out of 5

    John

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michael Kay-cee

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mariliis Topp

  21. 5 out of 5

    Agathe

  22. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jason Mumford

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Poll

  25. 4 out of 5

    Geert Vandermeersche

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jakub Korab

  27. 4 out of 5

    Vincent Li

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  29. 5 out of 5

    adam

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jad Deeb

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